Welcome ladies to 🍓Healthy Challenge: Week 1! 🍓
I’m so excited to have you here and inshAllah I hope we can all benefit from each other on this journey to healthier living!
Before we get started, I just wanted to emphasize that we are not striving for perfection here with these challenges. Instead, we just want slow and steady changes which will, God willing, stick with us for life! To let you in on a little secret…when I was in high-school, I used to eat fast food almost every day for lunch! I didn’t get to where I am now overnight, it took me years and years of gradual change. And I still feel that I have a lot to learn.
So remember, good health is a journey, not a destination.
In order to get the most benefit out of this challenge, you may:
- Join one of our WhatsApp groups (females only) in order to join in on weekly discussions after each challenge is announced. To join, shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Feel free to leave a comment or question below.
- Sign up for free e-mail updates (on the right side of this page) to be notified when new challenges are released.
- Head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment or question there…
So let’s dive right in! Our First Challenge will be…(drum roll please)…
Sugar is everywhere in today’s modern society. Not just in cakes and cookies and chocolate bars, but hidden in our beverages, condiments, sauces, and snacks. We overdose on sugar when we’re happy (think: holidays) when we’re sad (think: fight with my spouse) when we’re stressed (think: the kids drove me crazy today!) or when we’re just plain bored.
Did you know that it’s recommended for us to eat no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, but most of us are consuming 32 teaspoons per day?! No, that wasn’t a typo- we’re eating more than 5 times the recommended amount of sugar!
Knowledge is power… so I’d like you to start by reading this short article, which gives you 15 Reasons to Avoid Sugar.
Pretty disturbing, isn’t it?
Now for this challenge I’d like us to focus not just on sugar, but on carbohydrates. Especially those carbs which have what we call a high glycemic index. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates based on how much they raise blood sugar levels.
Eating a lot of foods with a high glycemic index can lead to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. (source)
On the other hand, eating foods with a lower glycemic index can make you feel full quicker, reduce food cravings, and increase your energy levels.
This week I’d like you to:
- Go through your kitchen and look at the labels of everything…you’ll see how quickly the sugar and carbs add up! Do the same at the grocery store.
- Make an effort this week to pay more attention to how much carbohydrates you might consume in an average day. You don’t necessarily need to count every single carb you ingest, but just become more conscious of what you’re consuming.
- Think about how you can replace refined white sugar with more natural sweeteners (such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, banana, dates, Stevia, etc)
- If you discover your carb intake to be high, try to replace some of the carbs with real, whole foods, such as:
- Vegetables (especially non-starchy ones) & fruits
- Grass-fed meats and pastured chicken and eggs
- Healthy fats, such as grass-fed butter or ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil
- Nuts and seeds (preferably sprouted)
- Fermented dairy products (preferably raw) like yogurt, cheeses, laban, and kefir
- Choose one area of your life which you feel needs improvement, and work on improving it this week.
- For example, if your family frequently drinks soda or fruit juices, try replacing them with healthier alternatives (such as flavored water, herbal tea, this Green Smoothie, or this Berry Probiotic Smoothie).
- If school lunches are a problem, sit down and work on a menu plan for better options (here’s a few ideas).
- In my family, breakfast is the most challenging meal for me- my kids would be happy with boxed cereals or pancakes every day! So I’ve had to work hard to find other options (such as this Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake, Chocolate Granola, Overnight Oats, Paleo Pancakes, Banana Pancakes (Gluten free), or Soaked Oat Pancakes).
- Remember that although natural sweeteners are a much better choice than white refined sugar, we should still consider them as an occasional treat. Honey and dates will still cause your blood sugar to spike.
For your reference, here are some example of foods which have a high glycemic index (and which are low in nutrients). It’s difficult to say how many carbs a person should be consuming per day, because it depends on many factors (such as your activity level and current metabolic health). But the highest recommendation I’ve seen is about 300 grams per day. For someone trying to lose weight, they may need to consume much less (50-100 grams per day). So keep these numbers in mind as you look at these foods, and just think about how quickly those carbs can add up!
High carbohydrate foods:
|White rice||47 grams per cup of cooked rice|
|White pasta||56 grams per cup of cooked pasta|
|Refined white flour||95.4 grams per cup|
|White Rice Flour||126.6 grams per cup|
|Potato Flour||133 grams per cup|
|A can of Pepsi||41 grams|
|Fruit juice||24-40 grams per cup|
|Chocolate milk||26 grams per cup|
|Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin||71 grams|
|Starbucks Frappuccino||50 grams|
|Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced w/Kreme filling donut||40 grams|
|Granola bars||about 25 grams per bar|
|Breakfast cereal||most are 25-30 grams per (very small) serving, that doesn’t include the milk and piece of toast you might have with it|
|Candy bar||25-45 grams per bar|
|Jam & Preserves||13 grams per tablespoon|
|Ketchup||5 grams per tablespoon|
Now, before we start thinking that all carbohydrates are evil, here are some foods which may be high in carbs, but are also full of nutrients:
|Quinoa||Oats (preferably soaked)|
|Bananas, apples, mangoes, dates||Sweet potatoes|
|Chickpeas||Soaked, sprouted, or sourdough bread made from ancient grains|
Ok ladies that’s it for today. Thanks so much for joining us in this Challenge!
Please leave a comment below or join us in our discussions on WhatsApp or Facebook.
Have a wonderful day! 🌸